The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference for a variety of film, television, music and interactive media events has been cancelled from risks of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an online event update, organizers stated The City of Austin made the decision while “SXSW will faithfully follow the city’s directions.”
They also added the events were being cancelled in “the first time in 34 years” after city public health officials declared a local emergency.
Since this week, Austin’s total number of reported COVID-19 cases grew to five while its government entered phase two of five for procedures.
Four of the cases were confirmed on the same day after individuals from Harris County returned from traveling abroad.
Despite guests not being able to attend SXSW in March, its update added options were being looked at for rescheduling at later dates in 2020.
A “virtual SXSW online experience” is also being provided for this year’s partners “starting with SXSW EDU,” as other groups will receive an FAQ on next steps.
Since 1987, the collection of events brought guests together for discussion panels, interactive exhibits and awards ceremonies.
Each annual gathering showcased new ideas through presentations, its comedy festival and a musical festival featuring mainstream artists. A gaming expo also lets guests attend an awards ceremony, film screenings and tabletop experiences.
This year’s lineup of featured speakers included Chris Evans, Karlie Kloss, RZA, Frank Oz, Katie Couric and Kumali Nanjiani.
SXSW adds to a list of other postponed events from COVID-19, including this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and a lighter schedule at PAX East in Boston.